Breadfruit – A Tropical Foodstuff & Medicine

Breadfruit – A Tropical Foodstuff & Medicine

written by: Ellen Kamhi
by: Ellen Kamhi
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BREADFRUIT (Arctocarpus altilis/communis )

A Tropical Foodstuff & Medicine.

Breadfruit was brought from Tahiti by Capt. Bligh...'Shiver me timbers'....Breadfruit provides a readily available healthy source of starch ...Breadfruit is a delicious way to help your heart & your blood pressure...

Breadfruit is one of the most popular "starches" served in tropical households around the world. As with many plants of the Caribbean, breadfruit was introduced from the South Pacific by Captain Bligh in the late 1700's during his second voyage on the Providence. In the Spanish speaking areas of the Caribbean, it is called Arbor de Pan, The Tree of Bread. The leaves, which possess prominent green veins, resemble that of the Philodendron, reaching from 1-3 feet. The fruit of this tree is round, green in color, and has many bumps on the surface. One large breadfruit can weigh from five to ten pounds.

Move over Potatoes, Breadfruit is Boss...

One of the favorite ways in which Caribbean people cook this delicious starch is to "roast the breadfruit." This is accomplished by placing the breadfruit, skin and all, without foil, directly into the hot coals. Breadfruit is also boiled and fried into breadfruit homefries, which are delightful. United States Customs allows you to bring back roasted breadfruit without any agricultural permit. Breadfruit tastes comparable to Irish potatoes. It has a distinct, nut-like flavor and more healthy fiber than potatoes. Breadfruit is high in carbohydrates, many minerals and is full of vitamins A, B and C. The leaves, sap and unripe fruits contain the medicinal components.

Breadfruit's Many Health Benefits...

Medicinally speaking, breadfruit leaves contain high levels of camphorol and quercetin. These strong polyphenol compounds are powerful antioxidants, blocking key steps in the inflammatory and pain chemical cascades. West Indian people have applied the bruised leaves over painful areas for centuries with excellent results. Perhaps, the camphorol and quercetin are responsible for its reputation as a treatment for Tinea versicolor , a tenacious skin fungus which causes Ring Worm. The unripe fruit is laden with papayotin, an enzyme found also in papaya and good for the digestion. My personal instructor, the Medicine Bush Doctor, Jamba, has reported that Breadfruit is a Maroon medicine which is used topically on skin diseases, like warts or growths. The enzymes actually digest these growths with an escharotic action. The quercetin and other phenols can then kill the virus. Breadfruit sap has achieved a reputation as a cardiovascular tonic and will strengthen the heart, regulate the beat, as well as lower the blood pressure. The sap contains steroids known as cardenolides, (types of cardiac glycosides) like those found in Foxglove (Digitalis spp.). Breadfruit can easily be grown in Florida. The trees can be planted right in the ground in well drained soil. Overwatering will cause the roots to rot. They also do well in large pots, with an 18-20 diameter and 20 plus inches in height. A combination of soil, sand and perlite is perfect for proper drainage. Breadfruit will thrive in a bright, sunny southern exposure on a patio or porch , and may yield fruit in a season or two!

When traveling in tropical countries, or right at home here in Florida, it's wonderful to know that 'medicine can be your food and food can be a part of, The Natural Medicine Chest !

Ellen Kamhi PhD RN, The Natural Nurse®, can be heard on radio daily. She is the author of several books, including WEIGHT LOSS, The Alternative Medicine Guide. Dr. Kamhi has been involved in natural health care for over 4 decades. Dr. Kamhi teaches certification courses in Herbal Medicine in person and online, and offers personal consultations. 800-829-0918